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Designing a Big Book: “Sheep in a Shop” Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-PHN0201
Submitted by: Linda Ives
Email: lives@montana.com
School/University/Affiliation: University of Montana
Endorsed by: Dr. Stephanie Wasta
             University of Montana, Missoula, MT Date: December 31, 1999

Grade Level: Kindergarten, 1


  • Language Arts/Phonics
  • Language Arts/Literature/Children’s Literature

Duration: Two 40-minute sessions Description: Students will create a big book from the text of Nancy Shaw’s book, Sheep in a Shop. By illustrating the story, students will develop an understanding that illustrations are a source of decoding support for emergent readers. Additional activities will develop skill in the use of the sh digraph.

Goals: Emergent readers will gain skills in decoding.

1. Students will learn to recognize the digraph sh and associate it with the correct sound.
2. Students will draw illustrations that accurately reflect the text.


  • 12 – 18” X 12” tagboard pages with text from Sheep in a Shop printed on.
  • 3 book rings
  • glue sticks
  • cotton
  • markers
  • labels
  • highlighter pens
  • post-it notes
  • construction paper

Students should have heard the story of Sheep In a Shop several times before beginning this lesson to ensure that they are familiar with the story. Before reading again, ask students to summarize the story. What did the sheep need? What did they consider? What did they decide to buy? What was their problem? Did they solve their problem? How? Main Activity:
Re-read the story. Point to the text as it is read. Discuss the use of the digraph sh as the initial sound of sheep and shop. Ask students if they hear either the s or the h sound separately. (Contrast with blends such as br andcl.)

Stop often to examine the illustrations. Guide students in the discovery that everything talked about in the text is mirrored in the illustrations. This is a support in the development of independent reading skill.

Provide a piece of tagboard to each pair of partners. Before distributing tagboard, glue a page of the reprinted text. Encourage students to draw a picture reflecting the text.

Follow-up: provide 1 sticky notes for students to record their own sh words during  ZYLAR (Zip Your Lips and Read). Encourage them to find words which have the digraph in the beginning, middle, and end.

a. Type the list of words that the students find. Print out on laser label pages, one word per label.
b. Print out one sheet of labels for each student. Students highlight the digraph in each word (fine motor skill).
c. After students have highlighted the word, they peel the label and affix it on the sheet of construction paper to show whether the “sh” digraph occurs at the beginning of the word (first column), middle of the word (middle column), or end of the word (third column). Students should notice that more of the words fall into the first category. Fewer words have the digraph at the end, very few have it in the middle (mostly compound words like dishwasher). Affixing the labels is another fine motor skill.

Re-read Sheep in a Shop from the newly created big book.

Assessment: Student-created illustrations should accurately reflect the text of the story.

Useful Resources:
Addington, L. First Grade, Bonner, Montana; cooperating teacher.
Shaw, N. (1994). Sheep in a Shop . Illustrated by Margot Apple. New York: Houghton Mifflin